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Voice: Sheriff's sergeant supports Mendoza

March 03, 2002

I have been reading the recent editorials with great concern and I feel a need to respond to those perceptions of fact. First I should add, yes, I am a Mendoza supporter, and yes, we all see things differently, depending on where you are standing. Am I committing career suicide by responding? Maybe, but as my parents taught me, when you feel strongly about an issue, stand up and be heard.

I for one am sick of hearing what is wrong with "the department." Many complaints coming from the opponent's supporters. Blame is placed everywhere but at the top. Leadership and accountability begin at the top. When problems exist they should be addressed not only after the fact but preventative measures should be in place before liability grabs hold.

I have been employed by the county of Imperial at the Sheriff's Office for over 20 years. I believe I have a voice in matters affecting not only my department but also my community. I know for a fact several lawsuits exist regarding jail security matters.

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Why? As a previous North County and South County sergeant investigator, I know for a fact there are over 10 (much more) unsolved homicides over the last 10 years, more than the "two or three" as have been previously reported.

As a concerned employee and citizen, I know that the communities of Niland, Bombay Beach and Ocotillo have vacant resident deputy positions, positions unfilled over the last couple years. Recently, Ocotillo's call for help was answered, at the expense of a South County investigations position.

I know for a fact the communities of the West Shores (Salton City) have been without a sheriff sergeant as previously promised. In the North County area, deputy positions are vacant and left unfilled. Deputies are working a high number of overtime hours to cover lapses in service. Recently reserve deputies have been called at home to provide patrol coverage. If in fact we have more "new" deputy positions, then why are we having difficulty providing our basic services? These are questions that you the citizen must ask of your leader.

The are other issues that need to be addressed, such as audits, decline in federal monies, reorganization structure (three under-sheriffs), efficiency reports, hiring and promotional practices, and many more, but I think I cut my throat enough. You the people have to ask these hard questions and look at the facts, not biased perceptions.

Why do I support Ernie Mendoza? I know he stands for accountability, accessibility and is responsive to the needs of the community. Why do I believe other employees do not support him? Does accountability means hard work and having to "toe the line"?

MIGUEL M. LEON

Sheriff's Office sergeant

El Centro

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